Saturday, October 1, 2011

The catheter is removed

On Wednesday I had finally had my catheter taken out and boy was I glad to see that thing go.  It wasn't that there was any pain associated with the catheter but I sure had to be careful whenever I was bending at the waist.  The procedure for removing the catheter was pretty quick and it was over before I knew it.

We arrived at my urologist's office around 11:00 AM and were escorted into an examination room.  A nurse came in and did the typical things like taking my blood pressure, asking me if I had any recent surgery, hello, what medications I was on and then she said ; "its time to remove the catheter.  I looked around and asked, "where's Dr Tel Terzo?"  She said "oh you won't be seeing Dr Del Terzo today"   I  of course said "well then who is going to take out my catheter?"  I kind of expected the answer but was still somewhat surprised when she replied "I am". 

She told me to lie on the examination table, pull down my pants, inhale and then quickly exhale and just like that it was all over.  It kind of stung for about a minute after the catheter was taken out but then things felt pretty normal.  I am now wearing a diaper, well actually it is more like a pad, and am getting along pretty well.  I really don't have much leakage.  I can sleep all night with out any leakage.  I do have to get up once during the night to drain my bladder but other than that I have no problems.  I get a very small amount of leakage when I run or ride the lawn tractor over bumpy terrain but every day things are getting better.  I am hopeful that with a week or two I won't need the pad at all.

All of this has peaked my interest as to how exactly a catheter works.  If you have an interest in things like this you may enjoy the following.

The formal name is the Foley catheter and in the hospital they referred to it as the Foley. The name comes from the designer, Fredrick Foley, a surgeon working in Boston in the 1930s.  The Foley is a plastic tube about 12" long.  Inside of the plastic tube there are two channels, one for the urine to drain through and the other is so air (or water) can be pumped into a balloon at the end of the catheter.  The external part of the catheter has a splice in it that separates the two channels inside the tube.

One of the splices has a valve that can be hooked up to an air (or water) pump for inflating the balloon at the internal end of the tube.  The other splice is for the urine to drain .  This splice has a fitting that allows a friction fit to another tube that feeds into a plastic pouch for containing the urine.  At the internal end of the tube one channel is open and allows the urine to drain from the bladder.  The other channel is a flexible plastic balloon that can be inflated into a small balloon.

When the Foley is inserted into the urethra it goes all the way into the bladder.  Once the end is inside the bladder the balloon is inflated  This serves two purposes.  It prevents the catheter from unintentionally sliding out of the urethra  and it forms a gasket inside the bladder so the urine can only exit through the open channel preventing any leakage.  When the catheter is removed the valve that keeps the pressure is opened and the balloon deflates.  The catheter is then pulled out of the urethra and you are good to go, literally.

The following pictures may help you better understand my explanation

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